New Orleans Pelicans combo guard Tyreke Evans has been sidelined since Jan. 28 with tendinitis in his right knee, and The Vertical's Shams Charania reported Wednesday the 26-year-old plans to undergo surgery that will likely sideline him for the remainder of the season.
The team announced the surgery on Thursday night.
In addition to missing the Pelicans' last seven games, Evans was sidelined for the first 17 matchups of the regular season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October.
New Orleans (19-32) has been decimated by injuries all season and has failed to live up to expectations after capturing the Western Conference's final playoff spot last year.
Franchise centerpiece Anthony Davis was previously in and out of the lineup with a back injury, while shooting guard Eric Gordon is currently sidelined with a broken ring finger on his shooting hand. Veteran swingman Quincy Pondexter is also out for the year after undergoing season-ending surgery on his left knee.
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry previously told reporters he hoped Evans would return after the All-Star break, per NBA.com's Jim Eichenhofer. But with Evans out indefinitely, New Orleans' backcourt rotation should be comprised of Jrue Holiday, Norris Cole, Bryce Dejean-Jones and Toney Douglas.
|New Orleans' Healthy Guards|
Cole is the primary beneficiary, and after struggling in December and January, he is averaging 15 points and 5.6 assists while shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from three in February.
Cole has started every game since Jan. 21, while Holiday has shifted into a role as the Pelicans' spark plug off the bench, with Dejean-Jones starting at the 2.
"I think Jrue is in a great place," Gentry said Jan. 21, per Eichenhofer. "We'll start Norris, and Jrue will continue to maintain his role. He's been great for us in that role; he likes that role for himself. And also it helps us keep our rotations pretty clean in terms of what we've been doing."
For a Pelicans team that once appeared to be the trendiest sleeper in the Western Conference, Evans' surgery could ultimately signal surrender. At this rate, the focus should shift toward making incremental improvements on the defensive end, where the Pelicans rank 25th in efficiency.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.